Game & IDN DiGRA Italia Talks

The “Complex Artefact and System Design Studio” of the School of Design, Politecnico di Milano is proud to host a new chapter of the “DiGRA Italia Talks Series”. 

A new series of open lectures on Interactive Transmedia Narrative and Game Studies, organised by Ilaria Mariani and Mariana Ciancia (Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano), with DiGRA Italia. 


The chapter is honoured to welcome seminal scholars from around the world in four dedicated lectures:

  • Stefano Gualeni & Riccardo Fassone “On Fictional Games”
    27 FEB, 3.15 - 4.15 pm CET
  • Eric Zimmerman “On The Rules We Break”
    6 MAR, 2.30 - 3.30 pm CET
  • Joleen Blom “On Transmedia characters”
    13 MAR, 9.15 - 10.15 am CET
  • Chris Crawford “On Interactive Narrative”
    3 APR, 5.00 - 6.15 pm CEST (Attention daylight saving time in action!)


The lectures can be accessed upon registration at this link (also forwarded before the event): 


Below details on each lecture


Stefano Gualeni & Riccardo Fassone “On Fictional Games”
27 FEB, 3.15 - 4.15 pm CEST

Fictional games' are games that exclusively exist as elements of fictional worlds. They are meant to trigger the imagination of the appreciator of a work of fiction and cannot actually be – or at least were not originally meant to be – played. Our 2023 book for Bloomsbury titled Fictional Games(a Philosophy of Worldbuilding and Imaginary Play) is an initial exploration of that uncharted scholarly theme in our community. It is also an occasion for rethinking the idea of games as artefacts that are not necessarily meant to be played. In our talk we will introduce some theoretical lenses to look at fictional games and present a few salient philosophical and expressive uses of these imaginary, unplayable devices.


More info on the book here. 



#fictionalgames #fiction #imaginarygames #worldbuilding #sciencefiction #gamestudies


Stefano Gualeni is Associate Professor at the Institute of Digital Games (University of Malta), Visiting Professor at LCAD (Laguna Beach, California), and Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Game Studies at the Ritsumeikan University of Kyoto (Japan).


Riccardo Fassone is a game designer and Associate Professor of digital media history and game studies at the University of Torino. 


Eric Zimmerman “On The Rules We Break”
6 MAR, 2.30 - 3.30 pm CEST

The borders between game studies and game design have always been wonderfully blurry, creating an intriguing playground for gaining knowledge through creative and thought-provoking approaches to design and experimentation. The Rules We Break is based on thirty years of teaching game design. It is filled with hands-on exercises for more playful thinking and more rigorous design. Building on the arguments addressed in the book, the talk will present the book and address fundamental concepts like play and meaning, system dynamics, representation and simulation, interactive storytelling, creative misbehavior, and the iterative process of design. 


More info and a sneak peek of the book here. 



#gamedesign #gamestudies #gameculture #design #creativity #meaning #representation #simulation #interactivestorytelling


Eric Zimmerman is an award-winning game designer who has been inventing play on and off the computer for more than 25 years. Eric was the Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of Gamelab, a game development company based in New York City. Eric is a founder of the Institute of Play, a nonprofit that looks at the intersection of games and learning. The large-scale game installations he created with Nathalie Pozzi have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as well as venues in Berlin, Paris, Dublin, St, Petersberg, and Los Angeles. He has taught at universities including MIT, the University of Texas at Austin, Parsons School of Design, New York University, Rhode Island School of Design and School of Visual Arts.


Joleen Blom “On Transmedia characters”
13 MAR, 9.15 - 10.15 am CEST

The talk addresses the topic of fictional characters across the domains of transmedia storytelling and worldbuilding in franchises. Adopting an inclusive and comprehensive perspective, the talk will reach out to Media Studies and Game Studies to explore the origins, boundaries, and evolutions of the role of game characters and their interplay with players. Formal elements such as narrative continuity, character proliferation, and narrative consumption will be tackled and discussed. The talk will provide references to popular game series and individual titles from Japan, China, Europe, and North America to support the discourse, providing a bridge between theory and practice.



#characters #intimacy #gamestudies #gameculture #transmedia #storytelling #narratology


Joleen Blom is a Japanologist and games scholar, postdoctoral researcher at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies at Tampere University in Finland, where she researches mediated intimacy, and parasocial relations with game characters. 


Chris Crawford “On Interactive Narrative”
3 APR, 5.00 - 6.15 pm CET

The talk will revolve around the work Le Morte DArthur ( A work that is an interactive storyworld with genuine artistic content. As such, it will violate all your expectations. Indeed: It's not a game. It's not interactive fiction. It's not a puzzle. It's not action-packed. It's not fun. If you're a gamer, you'll hate it and should not play it. If you like interactive fiction, you probably won't like it. The reason such people should not play Le Morte D'Arthur is that it violates all the norms of these firmly established genres.

The talk will discuss the work and its fundamentals, giving food for thoughts about what has changed in IDNs so far.



#InteractiveNarratives #InteractiveStorytelling #gamedesign #art #storyworld


Christopher Crawford is an American video game designer and writer. In 1992 Crawford withdrew from commercial game development and began experimenting with ideas for a next generation interactive storytelling system. In 2018, Crawford announced that he had halted his work on interactive storytelling, concluding that it will take centuries for civilization to embrace the required concepts.

More info:;; 

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